This week I learned about a topic that I have slowly been discovering. It is the concept of using social media for activism. Social media is not what it used to be when I was sixteen and that was only four years ago. When I first got a Facebook I was twelve and Facebook was so different. I used to update my status everyday. I hardly post on Facebook now. I mostly use it as a way to keep up with people and see pictures of their adorable children. Facebook is more personal now in that you are friends with family and friends and post updates of your life. It’s not really a way to meet new people or have PLN. Twitter is most definitely the place to meet new people, build a PLN, share ideas. Facebook is like the mom of social media, Twitter is the professional father and sometimes the teenager, but Instagram and Snapchat are the teenager.
Teens love social media and use it everyday. It is a great way to stay connected, but it is also a great way to promote ideas and causes. Which is where the gummy python comes in. I read an article My kids, a cause and our classroom blog, which focused on a classroom using social media to promote the crazy amount of sugar in food that consumed daily by teenagers. I don’t think students daily consumer 26 pound gummy pythons but things like Gatorade are not as healthy as we thought they were. Sugar is a cheap sweetener and good tasting stuff sells. These students are blogging, tweeting and promoting. This is not something I would have done at their age and I think it’s great. It gets kids into the real world and we’ll still see them as kids but now they are advocators as well. The old saying “kids should be seen but not heard” is being thrown out the window. They are ready to be heard and be seen.
Teens are using social media to help one another as well. God Loves You, finalist in Teen Activism. @Whytostaystrong is only fifteen yet they have created a account to help people with depression, self harm, eating disorders. They want to help and they want others to know they are not alone. The winner this year of the Teen Activism award is sixteen and you can read about her here Project Buddy. Social media may be accused of making our world less social but it’s also helping make our world a community. I’m not saying talking to strangers on the Internet is ok but sometimes it’s nice knowing someone else understands what you are going through. I watched a video last week called 140 characters of kindness and the speaker spoke about how when his dog died people he didn’t know reached out to him on Twitter. Complete strangers wanted to let him know they were feeling for him. Yes, there are scary people out on the Internet, but there are also amazing wonderful people who are just looking for a connection.
Don’t be afraid to be the change in the world. Use what you can to be that change and don’t be afraid to connect.